That’s right Chia, as in Chia Pets. But these super seeds aren’t just for your next white elephant gifts. They are finally getting their recognition as a superfood.
You’ve heard it said that good things come in small packages. Well, in terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. These tiny seeds are packed with Omega-3s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber and antioxidants.
Chia seeds are not a new discovery. Thousands of years ago, chia seed was a staple in the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs who touted the seeds energy and natural healing powers. The word chia is derived from the Mayan language, meaning “strength,” and Aztec warriors relied on chia seed to boost energy and increase stamina. One tablespoon of the seeds was considered capable of sustaining a warrior for 24 hours.
Chia seed contains a wealth of fiber—5 grams in just one tablespoon. It is the fiber in chia that causes chia seed to swell when combined with water, creating chia gel. The gelling nature of chia also makes it an ideal (and nutritious) substitute for pectin in jam and eggs in many baked goods. Use a proportion of 1 to 6 ratio of Chia Seeds to Water to make chia gel. Then use approximately one tablespoon of chia gel to replace one large egg in your recipe.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seed goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. No matter the dish, you can increase the nutritional value of any meal with a sprinkle of chia seed. Use chia seed in puddings and smoothies, sprinkle on top of oatmeal and yogurts, and add to baked goods in place of flaxseed meal or poppy seeds.
Chia seeds are found in most stores these days. Or you can get them on Amazon by clicking here.
Try my recipe for chia water for a fun drink for the kids.
How do you use chia seeds?